Developed by Canine and Equine Physiotherapy Training (CEPT)

The course is accredited by Middlesex University and attracts 120 credits at level 7

Course Outline

The basic syllabus is divided into a series of overlapping modules. The sections take up differing lengths of time, which will be made clear in the detailed syllabus. The course content addresses the following topics:

  1. Essential foundation sciences
  2. Study skills
  3. Basic handling skills
  4. Risk assessment
  5. In-depth anatomy and physiology including dissections
  6. Orthopaedic and neurological conditions and treatments
  7. Gait and biomechanics
  8. Manual techniques
  9. Use of electrotherapies and specialist equipment
  10. Exercise prescription
  11. Supplementary topics

Years One and Two include personal and professional skills on the following further modules:

  1. Communication
  2. Professionalism and interpersonal skills
  3. Treatment programs
  4. Research methods
  5. Case reporting

First Year of Study

The course is taught for one weekend per month from September to July, making eleven taught weekends. There is also a requirement for a number of days of work-based learning, along with home study, and set pieces of coursework.

Second Year of Study

The second year places a heavy emphasis on practical techniques and clinical experience. This is achieved by the use of placements with experienced veterinary physiotherapists. There will be four taught weekends, with the remainder of the teaching being practical placements.

Third Year of Study for a Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy

Students may progress directly to a third year to study for an MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy. This takes the form of a project and dissertation. The MSc is delivered and awarded by the University of Nottingham.

Course Standards

CEPT uses university and specialist lecturers alongside qualified training providers in order to bring the highest standards of education together.

There is no ‘Yardstick’ or general council for veterinary/animal physiotherapy that sets standards of training at this time. The title ‘Physiotherapist’ is only protected when applied to human practice.

CEPT maintains a very high standard by using noted experts from institutions and universities nationwide. Practical training is delivered by a combination of qualified veterinary physiotherapists and other trainers, all of whom have specific experience and qualifications in the field of veterinary physiotherapy. Many of our trainers have also undertaken a Clinical Educators training program. CEPT has on its staff a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy* who monitors the standards of teaching throughout the course, and who works alongside an eminent retired professor of education to assess the standards of the course work and end-of-year examinations.

(*The HEA is a body which monitors and advises on academic standards in Universities and Colleges throughout the UK)

Professor George Brown, BSc, D.Phil., D.Odontology (Hon)

is the current Chairman of the Board of Examiners and Course Evaluator. Professor Brown has wide experience of examining at undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral level. He has recently retired from the Medical Education Unit of the University of Nottingham. He has published articles and texts on teaching, learning and assessment and directed research and development projects in higher education. He has worked closely with members of the dental, legal, medical, veterinary professions and other professions.

Graduates from this course may apply for professional membership of IRVAP (www.irvap.org.uk). IRVAP represents a group of professionals working in animal therapy and healthcare, committed to promoting best practice for their animal patients and clients by linking a sound scientific knowledge base to current clinical practice.

Study Facilities

The course uses the facilities at the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine and Science (Sutton Bonington Campus, LE12 5RD).

Facilities for practical placements are at various venues around the country.


This teaching certificate is run by Marjorie Somerville, our qualified educationalist, and comprises 200 hours of study. The time is spent in formal lectures and observed sessions at Nottingham Vet School, as well as directed home study.

This course is intended to prepare clinical educators to teach and assess practical skills, and to provide a suitable learning environment in which students can learn effectively.

Method of Delivery

This course utilises a blended learning approach combining different modes of delivery, models of teaching and styles of learning. This includes tutor lead discussions, group work and student-led interaction with workplace colleagues and practical work groups. Course materials and other resources are available in hard copy and on Drop Box. Students are directed to a number of on-line resources and videos to develop their learning.

One to one support is available through face to face meetings, email, telephone and Skype. A mentoring programme gives an option to spend time with one of the experienced practical tutors in their working practice with email access for further support.

Assessment of practical work is carried out by DOPS (direct observation of procedural skills based on the observed performance of the trainee’s skills, attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge.). All learning is assessed in regard to the specific learning outcomes.

On completion of the programme, students will be able to:

  1. Critically review educational theories and demonstrate their application to clinical learning in practice.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of effective learning environments and learner support systems in order to maximise learning opportunities.
  3. Critically evaluate assessment methods and interpret their appropriateness in evaluating practical competence.
  4. Act autonomously in planning, implementing and evaluating the outcomes of teaching activity, inviting and using feedback from others to inform this process.
  5. Analyse the management of clinical risk in teaching physiotherapy practice in all aspects of training.
  6. Demonstrate critical reflective practice in relation to their own professional practice and teaching and develop their ability to guide their students in developing reflective practice.

On successful completion of the programme, there is an option to progress to Post graduate certificate in facilitating work based learning delivered by Middlesex University.

By the end of the program successful students should have developed:

  1. A firm foundation of knowledge and understanding of the links between underlying scientific theories, research and professional practice.
  2. A reflective enquiry-based approach to their work as veterinary physiotherapists.
  3. High standards of practical competence (Day One competencies).
  4. Professional values which inform their clinical practice and relationships with clients and other veterinary health professionals.